Eddie Jones has clarified comments he made about Emma Raducanu last week in which he appeared to criticise the British tennis star’s lifestyle and dedication to her sport. Raducanu has been in inconsistent form since sensationally winning at the US Open and the England rugby coach appeared to correlate that with her vast media appearances.
Jones used Raducanu as an example of why he does not want young fly-half Marcus Smith to get caught up in the attention surrounding him.
“The big thing for young players is distractions. Distractions can be the exposure they get in the media, the praise and criticism they get, groups of agents who see this guy as the next big thing,” the 61-year-old said.
“There’s a reason why the girl who won the US Open hasn’t done so well afterwards. What have you seen her on? The front page of Vogue, the front page of Harper’s Bazaar, whatever it is, wearing Christian Dior clothes.
“He is grounded, but they all start off grounded. No one starts with their feet off the ground or they don’t get in the team, or they don’t win a US Open. But there’s this flood of distractions that comes in that makes you ungrounded.”
The Vogue front page Jones referenced was published before her triumph in New York. He was roundly criticised for his comments, not least for appearing to not know Raducanu’s name.
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And Jones has since clarified his comments and has revealed he sent the 18-year-old starlet a letter.
“The whole point was how difficult it is for young players to cope with distractions,” Jones, 61, told BBC Sport.
“So the point I made was not wrong. I can’t control if it’s taken out of context. There was no criticism of Emma.
“I have sent her a letter just to reinforce that and hopefully we’ll see her at Twickenham shortly.”
She came through a battle of teenagers in her final encounter with Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, winning 6-4 6-3.
Raducanu announced on Monday that Torben Beltz will be her new coach having parted ways with Andrew Richardson after the US Open.
She said: “You guys cracked it. It’s obviously a great privilege to be working with such an experienced coach.
“I’m definitely very excited to work with him throughout the pre-season and into next year so things are looking up and it’s a very, very positive feeling, very excited about all the work that is to come.
“He brings a lot of experience. He’s obviously worked with Kerber who is such a great player and has done extremely well and won three Slams and I think that experience definitely helps with someone as inexperienced as me so he can help guide me through, which I feel really confident about.
“Also he’s a really positive, cheerful guy who brings great energy to the team so I think that’s also important when you’re travelling on the road for quite a long time on the tour.”